Hats By Katrinka

Kate Brown Pernia is a Milliner on sabbatical in Switzerland. She has been designing hats and teaching millinery under her Katrinka label since the 1980s. Kate is also the founder of Houston Hat Net. View Katrinka hats and hat patterns at www.hatsbykatrinka.com.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Switzerland was once known for its beautiful lace (Stickerie) and St. Gallen was for many years the center of the Swiss lace industry. Since I arrived here I’ve been on the lookout for lace and was surprised to see that it simply was not evident. There are a few lace souvenirs scattered about but new industries have long ago replaced the once booming lace trade here. Considering what passes for fashionable dress these days I guess it’s not surprising that really good lace is a bit more difficult to find.

I have kept my eyes open tho’ and have discovered a few treasures along my way. One day, while poking around a knit shop, I spied a small basket of beautiful cotton lace trim. The proprietress explained that the lace came from a factory where her mother had worked before the factory closed its doors. This weekend we tramped on foot through a blizzard to the Olma where an annual antiques fair was in progress. While browsing through the Swiss clocks, cowbells, jewelry and vintage junk I spotted several vendors selling antique Swiss lace. I couldn’t resist this beautiful piece which the seller explained is over 100 years old. It is probably a collar or a yoke intended for lingerie. I’m sure I will hoard it for awhile before I find the perfect use for it.

Another vendor had a beautiful silk, hand embroidered bonnet with a wired black lace brim peeking out of a hatbox. When I asked if she would show it to me she was happy to oblige. The bonnet was part of a folk costume she had that was originally worn in the area of Lucerne. Not all the pieces of the costume were left but she showed me a book displaying the full costume. I am kicking myself for not taking a picture of that bonnet as we chatted! I purchased from this lady the sweet little floral pin (perfect for a hat) made up of St. Gallen lace leaves. Yes, I think I’m beginning to find the St. Gallen lace trail!

K Q:-)


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